According to a report published Friday by BleepingComputer, retail giant Costco Wholesale Corporation sent emails to its customers this month informing them that their payment information may have been taken by a credit card skimmer when they were shopping at one of their stores (Nov. 12).
During a routine inspection by store workers, Costco discovered the card-skimming device at one of its stores. Costco officials are now cooperating with law enforcement on the investigation after removing the device and notifying authorities of the breach.
“We recently discovered a payment card skimming device at a Costco warehouse you recently visited,” Costco wrote in a letter to potentially impacted customers. “Our member records indicate that you swiped your payment card to make a purchase at the affected terminal during the time the device may have been operating.”
According to Fortune 500 rankings, Costco has 737 membership-only retail shops across the United States, making it the fifth-largest retailer in the world and the tenth-largest firm in the country by total revenue. It also runs eCommerce websites in North and South America, Europe, and Asia for customers.
If the suspect(s) who inserted the card skimmer obtained access before Costco staff discovered and removed the device, customers affected by the incident may have had their payment information taken.
“If unauthorized parties were able to remove information from the device before it was discovered, they may have acquired the magnetic stripe of your payment card, including your name, card number, card expiration date, and CVV,” Costco told customers in the letter.
Costco advised customers who may have been affected to check their bank and credit card statements for unauthorized charges and to report any suspicious or unauthorized activity to the issuing companies.
Customers have been reporting illegal purchases on their cards since at least February, according to BleepingReport. The firm did not specify how many Costco customers were affected by the incident or where the skimming device was discovered.
In September, Costco reported a 10% increase in same-store sales, an 8% increase in foreign sales, and a 7.3 percent increase in Canada. The company’s fourth-quarter earnings were up 11.2 percent over 2020, while the fiscal year’s earnings were up 44.4 percent.
Net sales increased by 17.5 percent to $61.4 billion, while net income increased from $1.39 billion to $1.67 billion.